Radek stared at the small room thinking to himself, first impressions of Sin City? I certainly am in over my head. I always wondered how I rated with Intel, obviously not very high. Still, why would Intel send agents to figure out what Intel was doing? Jenkins did tell me a lot more than I was expecting to hear, but is it a cover up? In an operation like this, if it really is Intel, they usually don't say much, and usually aren't ready to volunteer information. I still have a lot of questions, but my main priority is to figure out how long I was unconcious for. I wonder where I am on my time slot, and I rub my head and feel the soft sprouts that could actually be considered hair. I would guess it's been at least eight hours of growth.
Staring at the quarters that have been given to me, I can see it's quite military issue, but regulation standards can be copied by anyone. I have been given some roaming room which I will take advantage of. I feel that 48 hours isn't enough to figure out what's happening here, the council was edgy, extremely tense, and I doubt it's because I'm here. One thing I did note was how extremely alike Kaela and Jenkins are in appearance, the only difference seemed to be Kaela's brown hair, her shorter nose, and the fact that she's female. I do admit though, she's seems to have lost her marbles. Even though Jenkins is pretty calmn around her, they have a mutual resentment towards each other, which comes to another of my suspicions, Jenkins said this was his first time here, but I doubt that as well. I also doubt Tophet officials would consent to experimentation on their people, certainly if I was a human official, I wouldn't allow the T'Phettians to experiment on my people, that however goes without saying.
He sat on the bed trying to understand why they were bothering to put on a show for him. The thing bothering him the most however was where were the prisoners taken? His thoughts wandered about, but kept analyzing most everything. His thoughts continued; I saw a few prisoners in the cages, but I think that was merely for my benefit alone, and if the other agents have made rank with this "new" branch of Intel, why haven't I talked with them yet, or even seen them for that matter? I use to not really care about this operation, just hoped to get some good info and return, but now I want to figure it out. This however brings me back to the old quote, curiosity killed the cat, and I can't help but respond, satisfaction brought him back. I was never one for justification. One thing's for certain, we must have really hurt the bugs if we're sitting in their tunnels.
He opened the locker and found a pair of sandals, and he decided he would prefer them to the combat boots anyway. Slipping them on his stomach growled, and he realized he hadn't had anything to eat in three weeks. A nutrient solution to him didn't count when it came to real food even military processed food. He walked out of the room, thinking, to the left the mess, to the right the head, hmm, good to know.
Wandering down to the left he noticed for the first time the mass of cables and cords running along with the ceiling. Probably for ventilation and lighting. There was a soft hum coming from somewhere, and he was trying to note how many corridors branched off from the main route. There were times when the corridor sloped up or down, but for the main part it was pretty level. Walls switched from rock to metal, and he touched some of the rock for the thrill of it, to know he was on Klendathu, touching rock, and breathing air. There were times he wished he wasn't so easily amused.
He came into a larger chamber in width and length, but the ceiling level was the same, and for certain no T'Phettian could have stood in there. There were a few tables lined up with benches, and obviously it was a staff mess. There were a few workers eating together in white coats, but there was no sign of rank, and they eyeballed him as if he carried some sort of incurable disease.
He walked up to the sneeze guard, and always managed to laugh when he thought of why it was there. Scooping some of this and that onto his plate he wondered what it was he was about to eat. He shoveled some of the grey stuff into his mouth and closed his eyes as tears welled up to the corners. His mouth was almost numb, but putting food inside awakened the ache. "Oh that hurts," and he gulped it down, although it wasn't chewed enough and it made his throat sore. Each bite was equally painful if not more so, but his stomach growled. Sympathetically he sipped on cool water between bites, and filled up with water faster than he did with food. The whole time he tried to avoid their stares, but he didn't have to for long, because one by one they got up and left.
After a quick and unsatisfying meal he decided it was time for a bit of wandering. He wondered how much trouble he would get into, but decided he could always say he misunderstood Jenkins.
He tried to recover their steps, right, right, left, right, left, left, so on and so on, and to his amazement it worked, he found his way back to the large chamber, but to his astonishment the chamber was completely empty, there weren't even any prisoners in the cages. He fingered the metal links of the cage, and pulled with his finger to test the thickness. He heared a creak and shriek as the cages fell over and collapsed, and if he had been a few seconds slower would have been caught underneath them. He stared at all of the many corridors searching for someone to come rushing at the sound of the cages falling which seemed to echo forever. To his relief, he was left alone. This presented yet another set of many questions, and he examined the cages which were just propped against the doors on the other side. It was also his first evidence as to all of it being a cover up. He walked as quietly as he could across them, but his efforts proved to be in vain. He tried one of the doors, but it was locked. Trying all ten doors with no luck, he concluded so far his investigation had been thwarted. He shook his head thinking, am I truely starting to think like an investigator? Or is this just an unhappy coincidence?
Picking the lock of one of the middle doors he managed to make his way in. Apparently all ten doors led to the same place, but his heart dropped a little as he saw five tunnels leading in different directions. Some led up, some down, some were level, but they all twisted or turned so visibility was low.
He heared footsteps and tried to hide myself as best he could in a little alcove. Shaking his head he reasoned someone would have to be a moron not to see him, but he sat and waited, thinking this could always be my lucky day.
Two white coats popped out of the second tunnel from the right which headed down and they stopped to talk to each other for a second. The first white coat was an Asian looking fellow who grinned, "Prisoner 528 is making a remarkable recovery, we expect to be able to test him again within a matter of days."
The other white coat smiled and nodded in agreement, "Yes Dr. Ling, even prisoner 62 didn't do as well, and the simulations predict our success rate at 82%. The Colonel will be most pleased, he's expecting my report within the hour."
The first white coat wandered up the second tunnel from the left and the other white coat headed for the doors, but stopped and stared directly at Radek. He held his breath thinking, I'm such an idiot sometimes, like I'll gain invisibility powers by holding my breath. The white coat walked up to him and glared at Radek through thick glasses. Radek smiled and shrugged. The white coat pointed his finger at Radek menacingly. Radek furrowed his brows and gave him a what look, and the white coat touched the side of the rock with his fingers, "Filthy, absolutely filthy, the crew is going to get reprimanded for this."
Radek's mouth dropped open as the white coat walked out of the doors, wondering if he seriously didn't see him, or did he just not care that Radek was there? The white coat burst back through the doors, as three "crew" came up the same tunnel he had, "You clumsy oafs! Those cages are supposed to remain standing in case that agent manages to find his way back to the sorting chamber! What do we pay you for!?"
The leader of the three shook his head, "We've been down in the clinic all day."
Radek walked behind the white coat while he busily wrote something down on his e-notebook and made faces at him, to test his abbility of concealment, then grunted, "Me Tarzan you Jane."
The white coat snapped his head to look in Radek's direction but must have seen nothing, because he snapped his head to look at the crew and they looked at him in bewilderment. The white coat pointed his finger at them, "Which one of you said that?"
The leader shrugged, "You?"
The white coat threw his notebook on the ground and started to rant, so Radek cautiously made his way to the second tunnel from the right which went down for only about twenty feet and then turned slightly to the right. It sharply went up, and became so steep at some points stairs had been carved into the surface of the rock. It went up about sixty feet making it hard to see the top, and the ceiling slopped evenly with the floor showing signs of an underground river. Finally reaching the top to where it evened out again he walked only a few more feet before it opened up into another chamber, about half the size of the "sorting" chamber. There were more cages, but real, because each cage contained about two prisoners each. There were no more tunnels leading in or out except the one he had just come out of. Two of the crew stood next to the entrance looking exceptionally bored. The chamber looked more like a holding room than anything else. The metal walk way Radek was standing on went all the way around to offices across from him. A few ladders led into the chamber from the walk way, and the railing looked very unsafe and he thought SICON would be pissing their pants if they saw this. He flinched at the thought thinking, dammit I'm a government agent used for infiltration, I'm not a health code inspector!
Nothing much was being done with the prisoners, but he could see Tasker and Bull Dog, both looking very tired. Trying to quietly manuver over to the other side to the offices proved harder than it looked. The metal walk way made a lot of noise as he moved across it, but the crew either didn't hear him, or didn't care. One of the doors was open just wide enough for him to squeeze in, and he saw Jenkins and Kaela talking quietly. He hid behind a desk which was cluttered by a lot of paper work. He heard them talking to each other, and found himself distracted by it.
Jenkins stared attentively at Kaela, it seemed he was waiting for her to say something specific. She looked deep in thought, but shook her head, "My name is Kaela."
Jenkins sighed and rubbed his eyes, "Please Kaela, try to remember, just one more time. What is your full name?"
She returned to deep thought, as if she somehow knew exactly what Jenkins was looking for, but couldn't quite seem to figure it out. Radek figured it was like when you know the name of a city, and it's on the tip of your tongue, but you can't quite remember, "My name is Kaela."
His head dropped slightly in disappointment, "It's okay, you've done well today, maybe you should get some rest."
She shook her head, "I can almost see it, and I feel like I should know, but it isn't there. I don't know what to do."
"Don't worry about it, we'll try something different tomorrow."
"Oh yeah, I wanted to tell you, I almost forgot you've been gone so long, but that thing you were talking about, when they said I was bad, I remembered something."
Jenkins eyes lit up, "What, what do you remember?"
Her face suddenly twisted into a harsh expression of uncertainty, and Jenkins lurched forward with concern, "Please tell me, anything, please."
She gazed at him as she fought for words, "Men, only a few men, but men were there, in uniforms, they came after me, um, I remember I was trying to get away, and there were people in the street. I tried to throw something at the men, but it hit the people and hurt them. I think I hurt them badly. I didn't mean to hurt them."
Jenkins smiled at her, "I know you didn't. Why don't you go to your room and get some sleep."
"I'm not tired though, can I go to the rec room?"
He sat up drawing a lot of air into his lungs, like someone who got lost in thought and realized they hadn't been breathing. He wrote something on a piece of paper and handed it to her. Her smile returned and she ran out the door. Jenkins stretched out on the chair rubbing his weariness away, and to Radek he looked as his father when he had had a long day at work, and then would come home to his riddles. "Why don't you come sit down, you don't have to hide behind that desk forever."
Radek fell over backwards, as if his statement was a right jab into his gut, and slowly Radek got up and gave him the same stupid grin he had given the white coat, "How did you know I was here?"
Jenkins let out an amused laugh, "You think suddenly you gained a power to be invisible? I gave them a suggestion that they weren't really seeing you, more or less you were a fly buzzing around."
"No, not a fly, but like a fly, or a spec of dust, something to be ignored."
"Because, someone got through your psy defenses and told me that you are really here to figure out what happened to all of those prisoners. I've had to be extremely careful lately."
"I don't understand, if this is all a coverup..."
"It was. The prisoners are being experimented on. There was a small contingency of arachnids still left on the planet. They're using certain membranes to figure out how to make a super soldier, one that has no code of ethics, one who fights for the body politic and doesn't mind dying so that the others might live. A soldier who can take a hit and keep on going as you pointed out. Of course, I'm not allowed to say that."
"Why did I just tell you? Someone has to know what's going on here, but as you see it doesn't matter."
"What do you mean?"
"Why would Intel send agents to check up on what Intel is doing, wasn't that one of your questions?"
"Not me. Anyway, how do you cover up if you're exposed? You see, for some months we've been getting infiltrated, but not by Intel, someone else, we don't know who. What does Intel do? They send their own agents to expose this operation first."
"Why would they do that?"
"Think Radek, think. If you're about to be exposed by someone you can't find, what would you do? You set up your own operatives to make it look as if you're the one that caught the bad guy in the act, but the bad guy is Intel, right? There are no video or audio bugs in this whole place, names are codes, numbers, there is no evidence of Intel operation here at all, just some anonymous group experimenting on human prisoners sent to Klendathu. This way they can pull out with no connection and look like they're the ones who saved the day."
"But you already told me you work for Intel."
Jenkins smiled genially, "Yes, but Intel will play it off as if we were meant to say that, or that we genuinely thought we were working for them."
"What about the skinnies though?"
"You don't think there are T'Phettians in Intel?"
"What about that room though? They'll see that it was rigged for human and skinny communications."
"It's being cleared as we speak, you're the last of the three operatives sent, that room was made for you three specifically. The other two agents have been named prisoners 528 and 62, apparently Intel officers make good experiments."
Radek felt stumped, this was over his head, "Then why are you telling me all of this, why did you hide me from the white coat? Why did you give me all of those hints?"
"Because Radek, I need someone who can clear this all, someone who is for the most part an outside party. I could care less for the crew, the white coats, or the prisoners, I'm here for someone specifically."
Jenkins paused, obviously hesitant, "Did you go through security protocals surrounding a Section 8?"
"Yeah it was required reading in ops training."
"Then you'll remember that our brains are for the most part like a computer. Memories are downloaded files, and a Section 8 deletes those files."
"What are you getting at?"
"Somewhere in the hard drive those files remain, of course unless you get rid of the hard drive, but a human brain differs in that we have signifiers. Sort of like word association. People can associate a smell to a certain place, and bring up a whole system of memories. It's taken me a long time, but I've found Kaela's signifier, it's her last name. Just these last few years mentioning anything about her name, and simple little memories come back."
"Kaela was Section Eighted?"
"She only knows what Intel officials have told her about why she's here. I believe she's completely innocent, that Intel stole her for her abbilities."
"What can I do about it? For all I know I'm stuck here until they start experimenting on me."
"No, I think you're the agent they're intending to give all of the credit to, suddenly you'll have help, and when that happens the rest of us are going to be tortured until we tell them which agency we work for."
"But you work for Intel."
"Just apart of the job quirks. If it comes to that, will you make sure Kaela gets out of here-unnoticed?"
"Geeze, I'll try, but how do I even know I can trust you?"